Buttery-smooth 4K video comes as standard with the Hero5 Black, while a touchscreen interface and voice activation helps it be the most user-friendly GoPro to date. However, it generally does not feel as robust without its plastic casing, and that touchscreen could be awkward to use.
Voice-activated camera controls
Improved video and image quality
Easy-to-use selection of editing apps
Waterproof to 10m/33ft with out a case
Doesn’t feel as strong as previous gen
Touchscreen fiddly to use in the wet
Editing on desktop still clunky
GoPro is definitely synonymous with extreme sports enthusiasts who insist upon leaping off buildings with a camera mounted on their head, instead of doing something more sedate of a weekend.
[Update: The GoPro Hero5 Black hasn’t only been replaced by the Hero6 Black, but also the brand new Hero7 Black aswell. The Hero6 Black offers 4K at 60fps, together with improved image stabilization and numerous other tweaks, as the Hero7 Black provides a straight better image stabilization, improved interface, in addition to a host of other refinements and improvements. Don’t discount the Hero5 Black though – it’s still a cracking action camera that’s seen a hefty price drop lately. When you can live without a number of the new features that the Hero6 Black and Hero7 Black brings, then your Hero5 Black continues to be an excellent buy.]
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The footage captured by these strong little action cams (or POV cameras) has historically been one of the better, if not the very best, on the market, and therefore has been employed by everyone from skilled filmmakers to amateurs seeking to put in a professional sheen with their YouTube channel.
4K video capture at 30fps
12MP still images
Unfortunately, previous generations of GoPros have erred on the unapproachable side, lacking a rear screen to create and review footage, bamboozling users with a number of complicated camera settings, and rendering it a pain to retrieve footage and images when pretty quickly or on the road.
As a result, various rivals have popped up, boasting several user-friendly features so that they can steal sales.
TomTom’s Bandit, Garmin’s Virb range and the seriously affordable Olfi camera all offer 4K video recording, but with a much friendlier UI made to appeal to those getting started in the action cam game.
Like all good tech companies, GoPro has paid attention to customer grumbles, and has thoroughly updated its latest type of cameras to make sure they still pack the same heavyweight features but are usually better to live with.
That range now contains the Hero Session, Hero5 Session and the daddy of the lot: the Hero5 Black.
New additions to the high-performance monster add a rear touchscreen display, voice activation and super-easy one-button control, as the overall experience has been abridged to create capturing the action as painless as possible.
At £349.99 / $399 / AU$569, the Hero5 Black is priced based on the Hero4 Black that it replaces, regardless of the new gizmos, while video resolution is boosted to 4K at 30fps, still images jump to 12MP and ultra-smooth super slow-mo opportunities are actually possible with a 1080p resolution at 120fps.
Stills can be used single, burst and timelapse modes, and saved as raw files for post-production tinkering. Furthermore, a fresh WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) mode, which is GoPro’s version of High Dynamic Range (HDR), makes shooting correctly exposed still images easier.
Design and accessories
Waterproof up to 33ft (10m) – without waterproof housing
Bigger battery, small wrap-around frame and USB Type-C port
Aesthetically, the Hero5 Black – which sits above the cuboidal Hero5 Session – packs a neat matte black exterior and remains about how big is a matchbox.
The two-inch touchscreen on the trunk is bright and simple to see, while a smaller screen at the front end gives readouts on the shooting mode, Sdcard space and remaining battery.
There’s also a huge red button at the top of the camera, which GoPro identifies as its One-Button Control. Simply press this rubbery square and the camera powers on and immediately starts recording.
The eagle-eyed among you will observe that the Hero5 Black no more wears the protective casing of its forefather – that’s because this camera is waterproof up to 33ft (10m) straight from the box, although the lack of a case does leave it feeling just a little exposed (more upon this later).
The tiny lens cover on leading of the camera is currently removable, as GoPro offers a variety of filters that are thought to boost footage captured when diving or snorkelling. You just twist to eliminate the cover and snap on a filter; it is also convenient if the cover gets damaged.
Other notable GoPro accessories appropriate for this new camera add a Remo waterproof voice-activated shutter remote button, in addition to a Quik Key USB-C (yup, GoPro has finally moved to the brand new USB-C ports) mobile microSD card reader for downloading and transporting files whenever a phone or notebook isn’t available.